Archive for May, 2011

The Accidental Loaf

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
The loaf may have been an accident, but the result was delicious!

The loaf may have been an accident, but the result was delicious!

Initiation – This is by far the best loaf of bread I’ve ever made.  Now the question is, can I repeat it.   The whole loaf was made because of other things going awry.   The first event was a house guest mistaking the hard red wheat berries for rice.   After the second pass through the rice cooker, we were both wondering just why the rice was not getting any softer.   Until I asked her where she got the “rice.”   When she pointed to the buckets where we store the wheat, I knew the problem.   Now I had four cups of very soft wheat berries.   The next “mistake” was in milling three times more durham wheat flour for the pasta than we needed.   Left with four cups of semolina flour, and everyone visiting having had way more pasta than they wanted to eat again in a week, I didn’t just want to leave it lying around to oxidize it’s way into the standard fare you can purchase in the store.


I asked a friend who used to be a baker if she had any bread recipes for semolina flour.  This flour is a little grittier than regular flour and takes longer to absorb the liquids.  It’s also higher in protein and rises differently than more refined flours.   She found one that required using wheat berries.  Voila.  the solution.  We had the main ingredients – the semolina flour and the wheat berries.   I tossed the recipe.  Here is what I used instead:

3 cups semolina flour (made by grinding durham wheat berries)

1.5 cups soft red wheat berries (cooked in the rice cooker with 4 to 1 water)

3 cups milled hard winter red wheat berries.

1 cup gluten flour

2 tbs yeast

1 tbs salt

1/2 cup molasses


This is where the mistakes continued (thank god).   I mixed up the dry ingredients first.  Then added enough warm water to make a nice elastic dough – just a little this side of sticky.   Okay, yes I know that this is not that much information.   Once you start to make bread as the only way you’ll eat bread, you will know what I mean.   I forgot to add in any sugar.  The dough was made and had been adequately kneaded.  I figured, what the heck, it was a failure loaf anyhow.  So I just tossed in half a cup of molasses and put on the kitchen aid for another ten minutes.   Went back to the computer, answered a few more emails.   When I smelled the mixer starting to over heat, was reminded what I had going on in the kitchen.   Turned off the mixer, covered the bowl with some saran wrap and went off to the next alaskan adventure with my guests.   We got home five hours later to the dough that had taken over the kitchen.   One of my guests had shown up with my french bread pan from Connecticut.   I rolled out three loaves for the pan, and shaped the rest of the dough into a small round loaf.   We again left for our next adventure, not returning to the kitchen until early the next morning.   The loaves had again tripled in size.   I popped it all into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.   What emerged was the lightest, tastiest whole wheat bread I have ever made.

Monitor and Control

None – that was the joy of the accidental loaf.  Make sure to use a VERY sharp bread knife when cutting into light and delicate breads.

Close out

I’m not sure if I can ever repeat all the circumstances that went into this absolutely perfect loaf.   I have to remember this as one of my key learning lessons in life.   Accidents and mistakes often lead to the most amazing outcomes.   Relish and embrace them.